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“Through the Nether”


Nether Ops is a strange operation. It’s supposed to be a spy outfit that is part, but not part, of the Legion.  We start off with Agent number 99-337, Voss, Soren K. on a mission to find some stolen Republic weapons that should only be in the hands of Legionnaires. That shipment was now being brought in front of him by another member of one of the gangs on planet Starch IV. Soren had been on the planet for awhile and had entrenched himself in one of the other gangs and now his boss was preparing to acquire the shipment of weapons for a huge price. Of course his gang boss didn’t know of Soren’s affiliation with Nether Ops, nor did the other gang know that one of their members was also part of Soren’s team.

When the purchase of the weapons took place, Zelle, the other member of Soren’s team, secretly booby-trapped the weapons case. When one of the gangsters attempted to open it to show Soren’s boss the contents, all heck broke loss with both sides shooting everything they could as fast as they could. Of course Soren and Zelle knew what was going to happen so they were the first to duck behind cover. They were the only ones left alive. Now they had the weapons in hand, they needed to find out how it had gotten where it was. So, they started investigating where the weapons came from and who they should have gone to. This was going to be an interesting case until Zelle got killed!

It’s not often that one of the two main characters in a book/story gets killed off right at the beginning. But, she does and it was not because of something she did wrong. Soren just got them in a bad situation and he barely got out himself. Her death didn’t necessarily hit him as hard as everything else he comes up against during his continued investigation of these weapons. While he assumes the role of a normal hauler/trader, it takes him to some pretty rough places. He’s constantly subjected to poverty stricken planets that want to gouge the life out of anything that approaches them through landing taxes and any other method they can of taking money from someone who has it. Soren isn’t wealthy and he certainly can’t claim Nether Ops money since it could be traced to him, so he occasionally has to actually transport legit cargo.

Soren is an idealist. He believes in the Republic and believes what he is doing is worth doing since it will rid the Republic of various criminals and traitors. While he’s investigating the trail of these weapons he slowly finds out that the Republic might be in worse shape than he thought. He gradually learns that all is not well in the Republic. He knows of the Mid-Core Rebels (MCR) and their efforts to destroy the Republic so they are his enemies, but he doesn’t have much contact with them except possibly through this weapons shipment gone astray. Upon further investigation, he also finds out that there is something else besides the MCR that is threatening the Republic and it goes by the name of Goth Sullus.

For some reason, Soren wants to meet with Goth Sullus. Why is never explained. What happens at that meeting is somewhat unexpected, but not all that surprising.

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